Noob looking for help.

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some_dude

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Mar 17, 2012
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Totally new to amateur radio and I'm looking for information/experience.

Basically, I'd like to rig up my 4x4 truck with an amateur radio so that I have the ability to communicate when out of cellphone range. It's mainly as an emergency backup. I'm not really sure what kinds of equipment I should be looking at and what kind of certification I'd need to operate in specific bands.

I'm not certified to operate any amateur radio equipment, however I am a radio operator in the Canadian Forces. What I'm looking to learn is where I can get certified, costs, what kinds of equipment I can legally use, and where I'd look to learn what kind of civilian infrastructure is available when travelling off road in Sask, MB and Ontario (repeaters, gateways, ways of contacting EMS, etc).

And, if someone else has already outfitted their vehicle with long range comms capability, I'd be interesting in knowing what you're using and learning from your experience.

Cheers,

SD
 

avgas

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I would start by finding a local examiner in your area. Here is a link and you can search for one in your area. Being a radio operator in the Canadian Forces there is a good chance you might be able to write the test and pass no problem. Not to sure on the rules but you may already have the training to get your ham certification.

Talk with the local hams in your area, They can tell you what type of repeaters ect are in your area and what kind of radio would work best for you.

Accredited Examiners
 

SCPD

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To see if you are ready for writing the exam .. you can download the software and take sample Amateur Radio exams on the Industry Canada link below.

Amateur Radio Exam Generator - Spectrum Management and Telecommunications

As far as a radio .. I would recommend a good VHF 2m radio. I find that most activity is on 2 meters but some people may recommend a dual band radio (2m/70 cm) for more versatility.

I personally prefer Yaesu radios as they have good audio and a well laid out user interface. I have a link to a Amateur Store in Calgary below but I am sure that there is someplace near you where you can buy the radios.

Ham Radio
 

some_dude

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Mar 17, 2012
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Location
Manitoba
I'm not used to working with VHF above 90MHz and would like to confirm that a 50w radio the 2m band would give me about 25km (assuming good line of sight) when mounted on a vehicle roof?

What would my options be if I needed to talk 50-100km?
 

SCPD

QRT
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I'm not used to working with VHF above 90MHz and would like to confirm that a 50w radio the 2m band would give me about 25km (assuming good line of sight) when mounted on a vehicle roof?

What would my options be if I needed to talk 50-100km?
I am not certain where you are in Manitoba ... but I would look up which repeaters you have in your area. Most communications on 2m/70 cm for example are typically done thru repeaters due to their better coverage capabilities.

Simplex, (and to a lesser degree communications via repeaters) as I am sure you know, is really dependent on many factors. But you should be able to communicate typically distances up to 25 -100 km, or maybe even more under ideal conditions.

You can look up repeaters in your area from the link below ..
Manitoba Amateur Radio Repeaters
 

some_dude

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Mar 17, 2012
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Manitoba
I am not certain where you are in Manitoba ... but I would look up which repeaters you have in your area. Most communications on 2m/70 cm for example are typically done thru repeaters due to their better coverage capabilities.

Simplex, (and to a lesser degree communications via repeaters) as I am sure you know, is really dependent on many factors. But you should be able to communicate typically distances up to 25 -100 km, or maybe even more under ideal conditions.

You can look up repeaters in your area from the link below ..
Manitoba Amateur Radio Repeaters
Thanks for that link. The repeater lists I found earlier were only showing a small handful of locations (6 in total), all in southern Manitoba... and all well within areas that have good cellphone coverage.

I'm interested in how 50w radios are getting that kind of range. For perspective, two vehicles with whips don't typically have very good line of sight and are usually restricted to about 10-15km unless one of them stops and erects a 30 foot mast, at which point I can get about 25km fairly reliably... and a little more if the terrain favours me.

I'm assuming that to get 25-100km range we're talking vehicle to a fixed facility with a tower? Or are you talking vehicle to a repeater, then to a distant station?
 

SCPD

QRT
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Location
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I'm interested in how 50w radios are getting that kind of range. For perspective, two vehicles with whips don't typically have very good line of sight and are usually restricted to about 10-15km unless one of them stops and erects a 30 foot mast, at which point I can get about 25km fairly reliably... and a little more if the terrain favours me.
I should have made it more clear ... yes 25-100 km or more is what you may find from a mobile (typically running up to 50-75 watts) operating thru a repeater.

As you know, there are many many factors that determine actual distances you are able to communicate.
 

some_dude

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Manitoba
Cool. And thanks. It may not seem like much but you've helped me connect a bunch of the dots that were in my head and now I have a better understanding of HAM.
 

SCPD

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Cool. And thanks. It may not seem like much but you've helped me connect a bunch of the dots that were in my head and now I have a better understanding of HAM.
The one recommendation that I do have .. is that you study up and when you can consistently get over 80% on the exam (you can use the exam tool that I posted earlier from Industry Canada) then you can contact an examiner and take the test.

The reason for this is that if you get over 80% you get HF privileges which are 160 meters - 10 meters (1.8 to 30 MHz approximately). These frequencies as I am sure you know .. are used for long distance / worldwide communications in the ham community.

Here in Alberta where I am .. there are ham classes put on by the local Amateur Radio Club and this is a great way to learn the required theory needed for passing the exam. You may want to check if there are similar classes where you are.
 
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